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DOF issues regulations on 30-day grace period

The Finance Department said Wednesday it released the implementing rules and regulations on a provision in the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act directing all lenders to grant a 30-day grace period or extension for the payment of all loans, including credit card payments and pawnshop loans, falling due within the enhanced community quarantine period, without interest or additional charges.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the provision, as stated under Section 4(aa) of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan Law, covers banks, quasi- banks, non-stock savings and loan associations, credit card issuers and pawnshops.

Other credit granting financial institutions under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Securities and Exchange Commission and Cooperative Development Authority, whether public or private, including the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System and Pag-IBIG Fund, are also covered by the provision.

“All covered institutions shall implement a 30-day grace period for all loans with principal and/or interest falling due within the ECQ period without incurring interest on interest, penalties, fees and other charges. The initial 30-day grace period shall automatically be extended if the ECQ period is extended by the President of the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to his emergency powers under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” according to Section 3.01 of the IRR signed by Dominguez.

The IRR will take effect immediately upon publication. It will be published on April 2, 2020 in a news daily.

Under the IRR, the ECQ covers the period March 17, 2020 to April 12, 2020 as cited in Proclamation No. 929 issued by President Duterte on March 16.

Section 3.02 of the IRR also states that “all covered Institutions shall not charge or apply interest on interest, fees and charges during the 30-day grace period to future payments/amortizations of the individuals, households, micro, small and medium enterprises and corporate borrowers.”

All lenders are prohibited from requiring their clients to waive the application of the provisions of the Bayanihan Law, including among others, the mandatory 30-day grace period.

“No waiver previously executed by borrowers covering payments falling due during the ECQ period shall be valid. Nonetheless, the grant of grace period by the above-mentioned Covered Institutions shall not preclude the borrowers from paying their obligations as they fall due during the period of ECQ should they so desire,” the IRR said.

The mandatory 30-day grace period also applies to each of the multiple loans of borrowers with the principal and/or interest falling due within the ECQ period.

Under Section 5.01 of the IRR, borrowers whose loans fall due within the ECQ period are spared from paying an additional documentary stamp tax as a consequence of the relief granted. Also, no DST will be imposed on “credit extensions and credit restructuring, micro-lending including those obtained from pawnshops and extensions thereof during the ECQ period.”

As for the accrued interest for the 30-day grace period, this may be paid by the borrower on a staggered basis over the remaining life of the loan.

“Nonetheless, this shall not preclude the borrower from paying the accrued interest in full on the new date following the application of the 30-day grace period or extended grace period, as the case may be,” the IRR states.

Violators of the IRR provisions will be subject to the appropriate penalties under RA 11469 and other existing laws, rules and regulations.

Topics: Department of Finance , DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III , Bayanihan To Heal As One Act , enhanced community quarantine , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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